While the temperatures outside are cold and the conditions are less than ideal for a fun weekend of exploring and adventuring as a family, the time and weather is always perfect for a fun trip indoors.

If your family is looking for something fun to do this weekend that requires a coat only on the walk from the car, check out some of these places in and near the Twin Cities for some great family bonding time.

These local spots are all about history and learning. While they are great to visit during the winter months, they would also be a great spot in the summer for some extra learning between school years!

American Swedish Institute | Minneapolis

This cultural center and vibrant museum is an incredible local treasure on Park Avenue. It holds the title as the Twin Cities’ only castle – so it’s definitely a must-see. In addition to appreciating the beautiful 108-year-old castle, you can learn more about the Swedish and Nordic culture, enjoy touring exhibits and even sample some Nordic cuisine at their award-winning cafe.

Museum Hours:

Mon: Closed

T/Th/F: 12-5 pm

Wed: 12-8 pm

Sat:10 am-5 pm

Sun: 12-5 pm

Visit the American Swedish Institute website

Bell Museum of Natural History | Minneapolis

The Bell Museum is part of the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. According to their website, the museum is committed to “skillfully collect, preserve, prepare, display, and interpret our state’s diverse animal and plant life for both scholarly research and teaching, and for public appreciation, enrichment, and enjoyment.”

The Bell Museum has nearly 4 million specimens including mammals, birds, fishes, plants, mollusks and insects. In addition to its permanent exhibits, there are always new things happening – so feel free to visit often! With special events like “Saturday with a Scientist”, kids of all ages can learn from researchers and special guests and get some hands-on experience in various areas of science to encourage a love of learning.

Museum Hours:

M-F: 9 am-5 pm

Sat: 10 am-5 pm

Sun: 12-5 pm

Visit the Bell Museum website

James J. Hill House | St. Paul

This mansion was completed in 1891 for James J. Hill, the builder of the Great Northern Railway. At 36,500 square feet, five floors, 13 bathrooms, 22 fireplaces, 16 cut-glass chandeliers, and a three-story pipe organ, it is the largest and most expensive home in Minnesota. The house was also home to 10-12 servants over its 30-year period as a working house. It was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1961 and is a premiere example of an American Gilded Age mansion.

On a trip to the house, guides will lead you on a tour that explores the home and helps take you back to the early 1900s to imagine how the family and servants lived their daily lives on Summit Avenue.


W-Sat: 10 am-3:30 pm

Sun: 1-3:30 pm

Visit the James J. Hill House website


Watch for more suggestions on fun, indoor activities for the family on future blogs!
Categories: Community Events